Sixty Roman skeletons found beneath hotel swimming pool in York

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Builders were amazed to discover ancient human remains while renovating a York hotel.

Sixty bodies have now been confirmed as dating from the city's period of Roman occupation by experts from the York Archaeological Trust.

They were found during building work on the Grade II-listed Newington Hotel, which overlooks the Knavesmire and is being converted into housing.

The 1,800-year-old skeletons were uncovered from the site of what had been the hotel's pool, and are believed to have been buried in an extension to the Roman cemetery on nearby Trentholme Drive which was excavated in the 1950s.

It is also close to the Driffield Terrace burial ground, where a Trust dig took place in 2005 and where the graves of 30 decapitated Roman men were found. Some were thought to have been gladiators who had lost their lives in arena combat.

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The Newington Hotel graves were shallow, leading to archaeologists to suspect that they had been damaged by medieval ploughing of the land and construction in later centuries.

The bodies includes men and women of all ages and of a similar social standing and date from the second, third and fourth centuries AD.

Objects including a jet pin were found nearby.

The Trust's project manager Ben Savine said:

“Despite the depredations of medieval ploughing and later building development, a number of graves have survived with a superb level of preservation with some including grave goods in the form of pots, dishes, flagons and beakers, and also traces of the coffins in which the dead were laid to rest.”

The public can visit the site during an open day on June 22 from 1-2pm.

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